Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson Talk Basketball Comedy 'Champions'
Moviefone speaks with Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson about 'Champions.' "If you like laughing, then you're going to have a great time," Harrelson said.
Opening in theaters on March 10th is the new basketball comedy ‘Champions,’ which was directed by Bobby Farrelly (‘Dumb and Dumber,’ ‘There’s Something About Mary’).
What is the plot of ‘Champions?’
After losing his college basketball coaching position, and being arrested for drinking and driving, Marcus (Woody Harrelson) is sentenced to community service and must coach a basketball team called “The Friends,” which is made up of players with intellectual disabilities.
While the team is reluctant to embrace Marcus at first, eventually they find themselves working together and competing for a spot in the Special Olympics. Meanwhile, Marcus begins a complicated relationship with the sister of one of his players, Alex (Kaitlin Olson).
Who is in the cast of ‘Champions?’
‘Champions’ stars Oscar-nominee Woody Harrelson (‘White Men Can't Jump,’ ‘Kingpin’), Kaitlin Olson (‘Vacation’), Ernie Hudson (‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’), and Cheech Marin (‘Shotgun Wedding’).
Playing “The Friends” are Madison Tevlin, Joshua Felder, Kevin Iannucci, Ashton Gunning, Matthew Von Der Ahe, Tom Sinclair, James Day Keith, Alex Hintz, Casey Metcalfe, and Bradley Edens.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson about their work on ‘Champions,’ the characters, working with “The Friends,” and what audiences can expect from the new comedy.
You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Harrelson, Olson, Cheech Marin, and Bobby Farrelly.
Moviefone: To begin with, what would you both say to viewers sitting down to watch this movie to prepare them for the experience they are about to have?
Woody Harrelson: Well, I'd say listen, it's important, if you don't like laughing, if you don't like having a great time and being happy, you might want to leave right now. But if you do like having a good time and laughing, then you're going to have a great time tonight.
Kaitlin Olson: We had so much fun making this movie. It is a true underdog story. It makes you feel good. We worked with some incredible actors who some of them are first time actors. We're just so incredibly proud of this movie. It makes you feel good, and it makes you laugh. So please enjoy.
Related Article: Jennifer Coolidge and Cheech Marin Talk Prime Video's 'Shotgun Wedding'
MF: Woody, can you talk about the situation Marcus finds himself in coaching “The friends,’” and how that changes his life, and him as a person?
WH: Well, Marcus does get in a little trouble with the law and goes before the judge. She tells him, "Well, you got a choice. You can either go to jail or you can go and coach ‘The Friends,’ these people with disabilities." Which he thinks for a minute, "Do I want to? Okay." Then he ends up going to do the coaching. I think that he's so tied up in his need to succeed and so ambitious in wanting to be in the NBA, and it takes these “Friends” to really start to cultivate the inner more vulnerable side to his nature. Of course, my relationship with Alex also helps to make Marcus a better man. So his learning to love is what shifts him completely.
MF: Finally, Kaitlin, Alex has a history with Marcus, what’s her reaction when she discovers that he is coaching her brother’s basketball team?
KO: Alex doesn't have a great experience with him in the beginning of the movie. Then when she finds out that he's coaching her brother's basketball team, I think she's very uncomfortable and sees in this character that he just wants to win. She really sees the value of looking at each individual person and expecting their own personal best, and seeing that as a win. So I think she's very apprehensive about what he's going to do and how he's going to ultimately affect them. She wants to protect them from him. But of course, they get to know each other.
Other Movies Similar to ‘Champions:’
- ‘Hoosiers' (1986)
- 'White Men Can't Jump' (1992)
- 'Dumb and Dumber' (1994)
- 'Kingpin' (1996)
- 'There's Something About Mary' (1998)
- ‘Semi-Pro' (2008)
- 'The Way Back' (2020)
Buy Tickets: 'Champions' Movie Showtimes
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'Champions' is produced by Gold Circle Films and Focus Features, and scheduled for release on March 10th.